March 27, 2009

Looking for a new MMO?

I stumbled across this game the other day called Aion: The Tower of Eternity. I'm not big on MMOs myself, mostly because I can't quite find one that plays just right for me. I want direct, real-time control. While Aion may not have that (or maybe it does, but I doubt it) it still looks refreshingly different. Aion, of course, is published by NC Soft, publishers of half the MMOs on the market including City of Heroes and Guild Wars. The game already launched in Korea and is currently beta testing in China. NC hopes to release the game in the US by the end of the year.

Before I get into some specific elements that make the game so cool, I thought I'd first explain the story (or, rather, let our friends at Wikipedia explain it):

In the beginning there was a god named Aion who ruled over a world called Atreia. This god created a race of intelligent entities to act as his servants (in likeness to angels) whom he called the Balaur. After some time passed the Balaur disobeyed Aion's wishes and rebelled against their creator. The god Aion then created the 12 Empyrean Lords. The Empyrean Lords in turn created a barrier which prevented the Balaur from attacking the humans charged under their protection. Within this barrier all things were safe. The Balaur ravaged and destroyed many of the living things residing outside of the barrier.

Some humans, living within the safety of the barrier, learned how to harness some of the same energy as the Empyrean Lords, known as aether. Such humans were called Daeva and like the Empyrean Lords had wings. With time, enough Daevas were born to form an army. Ten of the empyrean lords led these Daevas into battle against the Balaur, while the remaining two were the guardians of the tower of eternity, the embodiment of the god Aion. The war with the Balaur lasted for hundreds of years till one of the guardians of the tower announced that they should find a way to make peace with the Balaur, five of the Empyrean lords vehemently disagreed, however the second guardian of the tower was swayed to peace. The Balaur were invited into the tower for peace talks, it is unclear what happened at that point, one of the Balaur lords lay wounded on the floor and the rest proceeded to attack the tower, the two Guardians attempted to raise the shield going to opposite ends of the tower, they were unsuccessful and the tower, along with the world, shattered in two. However they sacrificed there lives on order to protect a part of the world. With the world severed the survivors banded together to face the new world, ten of the empyrean lords survived. Five who had opposed peace and who claimed that the weakness of the rest of the lords had allowed the Balaur to attack them, reigned in the dark part of the world, they are know as the Shedim Lords. The other five reign the light covered bottom part of Atreia and claim that it was the Shedim lords actions that caused the breaking of the tower, they are known as the Seraphim Lords.

The new shape of the world also reshaped its inhabitants, those that lived in the light part of the world saw little change except for and increase in their beauty. These followers of the Seraphim Lords called themselves Elyos and created the city of Elysea. The inhabitants of the upper part of the world saw many changes, having to walk on ground strewn with fragments of the tower their feet became talons and having to fight against beasts their hands became claw like, the darkness made their complexion change and their eyes grew red adapting to the absence of light. They call themselves Asmodians and live in the city of Pandemonium under the rule of the Shedim Lords.

Two things struck me the most: One, the game heavily features flying and areal combat. Awesome. How many MMOs can do that? Second, the world looks incredibly gorgeous. Each half looks truly unique with varied locations, creatures, and populations. It looks living and breathing- something I've been looking for in an MMO. The game runs on the CryTech engine so it actually looks good, unlike most MMOs on the market that sacrifice playability for graphics. I have no doubt that Aion plays as well as it looks. The character customization system is something to behold as well. It's similar to the one in Oblivion, where you basically get to alter ever aspect of your character's face. I'm greatly anticipating this title now as well as Champions Online. We'll see how Aion turns out, but for now I'm very hopeful. It looks pretty freakin sweet. For more info, check out the official site. Check out the awesome trailer here and find a lot more videos at GameTrailers.

1 comment:

  1. Looks interesting, although NC-Soft's latest projects have been complete failures.